X-CAL: Explicit Calibration for Survival Analysis

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 pre-proceedings (NeurIPS 2020)

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Mark Goldstein, Xintian Han, Aahlad Puli, Adler Perotte , Rajesh Ranganath


<p>Survival analysis models the distribution of time until an event of interest, such as discharge from the hospital or admission to the ICU. When a model’s predicted number of events within any time interval is similar to the observed number, it is called well-calibrated. A survival model’s calibration can be measured using, for instance, distributional calibration (D-CALIBRATION) [Haider et al., 2020] which computes the squared difference between the observed and predicted number of events within different time intervals. Classically, calibration is addressed in post-training analysis. We develop explicit calibration (X-CAL), which turns D-CALIBRATION into a differentiable objective that can be used in survival modeling alongside maximum likelihood estimation and other objectives. X-CAL allows us to directly optimize calibration and strike a desired trade-off between predictive power and calibration. In our experiments, we fit a variety of shallow and deep models on simulated data, a survival dataset based on MNIST, on length-of-stay prediction using MIMIC-III data, and on brain cancer data from The Cancer Genome Atlas. We show that the models we study can be miscalibrated. We give experimental evidence on these datasets that X-CAL improves D-CALIBRATION without a large decrease in concordance or likelihood.</p>